Dive Report - 12_20-21_08 - Santa Monica Bay is for the birds...

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Posted by Patrick on December 23, 2008 at 15:26:18:

After the previous week of rain the crew of the Kate was eager to get on the water. Gathering at the Moby Kate for the 06:30 departure everyone was overjoyed to discover the deck of the boat with a substantial coating of ICE. Despite the slick deck surface, all the gear was loaded (with Captain Andy finishing up with a dazzling triple axel) and we headed to the MdR launch ramp. Amazingly, despite the beautiful day (and frigid temperatures), there was only one other boat launching.

Since the last few trips had been to the north end of Santa Monica Bay, we opted for a run south this trip. Once on our favorite southern reefs, we dropped a marker, and I went over the side right afterwards. The water was 57-degrees and felt way more comfortable than the surface air temperature. Vis on the beginning of the descent was about 35+feet, and on the bottom in 95-feet of water was still a very nice 20 to 25-feet. On the surface there was sun and a light offshore with no swell to speak of.

Since it is the holiday season I was doing my charitable thing and looking for homeless crustaceans to invite home for a warm bath and dinner. The bath was theirs, the dinner was mine. In the course of three dives in several locations, the crew of the Kate managed to wrangle limits of homeless crustaceans along with a couple of limits of scallops. Local residents such as kelp bass, sand bass seemed to be rather sparse, whereas the sculpin, lingcod and cabezon populations were pretty dense along with large clouds of Chromis on every dive.

On the way back into the harbor, we picked up a rider. A pelican, seeing the scallop cleaning going on decided there might be some free food to be had, along with a free ride into the marina.

He / she was quite bold and seemed very at ease with people. Such warmth was not to go unrewarded…

All in all, another beautiful, interesting day of diving in So. Cal… So nice in fact, we decided to do it again the next day.

Sunday dawned as beautiful as Saturday – better in fact since we didn’t have to scrape ice off the deck in the morning. Given the previous day’s success, we decided to again run down towards the Redondo end of the bay. My first dive (91 feet, 27 minutes) found conditions as good as the day before; 25-foot vis, 56-degree temperature (surface & bottom), few bass, lots’o sculpin and lingcod and the addition of a magnificent, huge bat ray. And a limit of very nice, bugs. Andy and Steve dived other rock piles and subsequently, did as well. It was amazing. Here it was, Winter Solstice and were out on the water enjoying sun, calm seas and great diving just 30 minutes from the harbor. What could be better?

On Andy’s last dive he apparently found a skate park, or at least a skating helmet. He wore it for the dive and was quite dashing and very shiny.

On the way back into the harbor, we again found our pelican buddy, and this time he brought friends.

Two spectacular days of diving - I hope they’re enough to get us through the holidays and the next round of storms that are predicted.

To the board members – best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and a great 2009.

Stay wet…

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